It is back. Unfortunately, we do have one site that has substantial disease from Neopestalotiopsis (Neo for short). Also unfortunately, it is difficult to confirm this disease without microscopy and viewing the spores that are produced in leaf and fruit lesions. Neo looks like anthracnose on fruit, several leaf spots, and Phytophthora root rot — sometimes all at the same time. The pathogen comes in with infected nursery plants, and once in a field, it is very difficult if not impossible to alleviate the pathogen from that location. Cleaning field equipment is critical in order make sure that the pathogen is contained to one location. It can infect and survive on other crops and weeds, even if it does not show symptoms. Heavy rainfall seems to be the trigger for the disease development and spread. There is some evidence that spider mites can increase disease levels, but this is anecdotal information; however, the spores are in a sticky ooze, so one can see how mites could both spread them and provide pathogen entry to the plants as they feed. Chemical suppression is limited, with Switch and Thiram providing the best, albeit minimal, control. Be on the lookout for the disease. The fact sheet below is of value for anyone concerned about Neo. If you suspect that you have Neo, please contact your local county agent for help in identifying the pathogen and therefore the disease.

Posted in: